The Jade Empire
After the fall of the Tellision Republic the lands west of the the The World Pillars fell into chaos as seven mighty warlords fought for control of the land. During the last great battle the seven warlords stopped fighting when a spiritual image, of what has come to be referred to as the Great Kami, appeared before the seven armies and explained that a great threat can from the north. With out question the seven army rallied together and marched north. When they got to the southern edge of the Northern Wastes a horde of savage demon worshipping barbarians. In the ensuing battle 6 of the warlord fell but the last of the warlords rallied the remaining forces and claimed victory over the barbarian horde.
After the battle the warlord named himself Shogun and the other 6 armies swore loyalty to him. The first thing the new Shogun did was commissioned a mighty wall be built from The World Pillars to the ocean known as Kami no Kabe. After that he stabilized the region and established the Jade Empire.
To an outsider the lands that make up the Jade Empire seem to be in a constant state of chaos. This is only partially true, because these lands are divided into various clans that are often at war with one another. These clans are usually sworn vassals of a larger clan above them who are sworn to a larger clan above them and so on all the way up to the seven great clans who are all sworn to the Shogun. Within this system smaller inter-clan conflicts are resolved in armed combat but with very strict codes of conduct because of this system of conflict a the territories along clan borders tend change hands on average once every decade or two, with some territories being more contested than others.
The seven great clans are decedents of the fallen warlords and of the first Shogun. All other clans are vassals to one of these clans either directly or indirectly. Clan leadership passes from parent to first child regardless of gender. The Shogun who rules over them all from the city of Kamitoshi. Unlike with clan leaders, also called Daimyos, the Shogun’s successor goes to who ever control the capital for six cycles after the death of the Shogun. After this six cycles of open warfare all of the clans swear loyalty to the Daimyo who controls the capital. For nine generations the Dragon Clan ( one of the seven great clans) has held the capital and the shogunate. However on the 2nd Birth of Spring 52nd year of the Dragon’s 27th Reign 5013ARF, mere 6 days into the latest succession war the Dragon Clan was forced to abandon the capital to the combined might of several of their own vassals. These rebelling clans (the Oni clan, the Tengu clan, and the Dorotabo clan) are considered dishonored by many of the other clans but as they still hold the capital by the letter of the lay one of them could still become shogun. This has caused a divide by the clans that hold to the law and those who do not recognize the dishonorable actions of the three rebel clans.
The citizens of the Jade Empire are the largest variety of races ranging from humans, elves, and halfings to some more exotic races like the Vanaras, Tengu, Kitsune, and the various elemental touched races. The Daimyos are traditionally human but through adoption the heir to the Crane Clan is a Kitsune.
The Jade Empire worships the individual spirits of the land, known as Kami, as well as the entity known as the Great Kami. Most scholars, both in the empire and abroad agree that the Kami are agents of Gaia and the Great Kami is Gaia herself. Rivers of natural magical energy flow through the lands of the Jade Empire referred to as Ley Lines. The flow of these Ley Lines has a great effect on the magic both divine and arcane in the land.
Due to the multifaceted nature of their patron deity, Gaia, The Jade Empire has openly adopted polygamy, with a few culturally imposed rules. First the individual with the highest social status is the center of the family to whom all the other spouses marry to. Second, everyone in the marriage must at least be amicable with each other. Third, each spouse must bring something to improve the marriage, be it new skills, wealth or contacts to broaden and balance the family’s strengths. Lastly all children of the marriage consider all spouses to be their parents, though direct blood connections still matter for the sake of inheritance. Many daimyos and samurai utilise this system of marriage to secure political alliances.
The citizens of the Jade Empire from the lowest farmer to the Shogun all hold clan and personal honor in great importance even above their own lives. Though the exact specifics of this code varies from person to person there are a few similarities. Loyalty to one’s lord, restrain for public shame or failure, and seeking mastery of one’s chosen skill or craft, are all common aspects of Bushido.
—Dragon: The Dragons are the direct descendants of the original Shogun and have held the title of Shogun more often than any other clan. They are proud of their heritage to the point of arrogance. The events of the 52nd year of the Dragon’s 27th Reign (5013 ARF) have shacken their pride but did little to humble the mighty Dragons. Current Daimyo: Gojou Daigo of the Dragon
—Crane: One of the 7 Great Clan the Cranes are perhaps the most artistic of the all the clans, as well as the most progressive. Unlike their counterparts in other clans, the nobles and samurai of the Crane do not look down on the other “lesser” races. This is highlighted by the current Daimyo of the Crane (who is childless) declaring an adopted Kitsune named Sonoda Kiyomi of the Crane as his heir. The Cranes also prefer honest diplomacy over outright warfare or subterfuge but they are still skilled in both should diplomacy fail. Since their high skill in the art of diplomacy the Cranes often act as mediators for negotiations of other clans. Current Daimyo: Sonoda Hachi of the Crane
Current Vassal Clans: Koi (Damyio Hotta Noachika), Kappa (Damyio Miyazaki Yuno), Kodama (Damyio Hino Motoichi), Anaconda (Damyio Ikehata Shinzo)
—Yuki-onna: The clan was a direct vassal of the Crane but was a prominent clan in their own right. The Kappa, and Kodama clans both swore vassal ship to the Yuki-onna. The source of the clan’s political and magicial power came from the location of their clan castle. It sits atop a solitary mountain that The Tellesion Highway ran path on its way to Kamitoshi. This mountain named Dengen-funsui allowed the priests of the Yuki-onna clan to control the Ley Lines that flowed around the capital city. During the 31st year of the 22nd Riegn of the Dragon (4813 ARF) the Yuki-onna clan met a tragic end when a raid by unknown ninjas and kami. The head family were all killed and their vassals and samurai were scattered. Most of these servants went on to serve the Cranes directly though some went on to become ronin. Though it has now been 200 years the descendants of those loyal servants still tell the Tale of the Lost Child. A infant survivor of the head family that was spirited away by the clan’s guardian spirit and how one day that child or one its offspring will hoist the Yuki-onna standard once more.
—Crab: One of the 7 Great Clans, the Crab are stalwart warriors favoring defensive combat forms and tactics. Since the building of the Kami no Kabe the Crab Clan has held the honor and responsibility of defending the Empire and the whole of the civilized world from the dangers of the Northern Wastes. In times of great need, when The Clans of the Wastes surged against the Wall, The Crab clan can call for aid from the other great clans, who are all quick to respond regardless of any other struggles or turmoil. As the clan is completely devoted to their duty, they have had little ambition in the title and power of Shogun only holding the title for 5 reigns (the lowest number of all the great clans).
Current Daimyo: Enomoto Ko of the Crab